Scaredy Lady of Shalott

Note: There are probably twenty people on earth who will get this, but I came up with this connection in class one day and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s based on a WONDERFUL children’s book by Montreal author Mélanie Watt (which you should buy for yourself, if not for your child):

and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s famous poem “The Lady of Shalott”:

Anyway, this is what happens to your brain when you teach Victorian Literature but are spending a great deal of time reading children’s books: Enjoy!

Scaredy Lady of Shalott

Scaredy Lady of Shalott never leaves her tower.

She’d rather stay in her safe and familiar tower than risk venturing out into the unknown. The unknown can be a scary place for a lady.

A few things Scaredy Lady of Shalott is afraid of:

  • Reapers reaping early
  • Surly village churls
  • Red cloaks of market girls
  • A curly shepherd lad
  • Two young lovers lately wed
  • Knights in shining armour

So she’s perfectly happy to stay right where she is.

Advantages of never leaving the tower:

  • great view (through a mirror)
  • plenty of weaving
  • safe place
  • no reapers, churls, market girls, shepherd lads, young lovers, or knights

Disadvantages of never leaving the tower:

  • same old view (through a mirror)
  • same old weaving
  • same old place

In Scaredy Lady of Shalott’s tower, every day is the same. Everything is predictable. All is under control.

Monday: weaving – Tuesday: weaving – Wednesday: weaving – Thursday: weaving –Friday: weaving – Saturday: weaving – Sunday: weaving.

Scaredy Lady of Shalott’s daily routine:

  • 6:45 am            wake up
  • 7:00 am            do some weaving
  • 7:15 am             look at view (through mirror)
  • 12:00 noon      do some weaving
  • 12:30 pm          look at view (through mirror)
  • 5:00 pm            do some weaving
  • 5:31 pm             look at view (through mirror)
  • 8:00 pm            go to sleep

BUT let’s say, just for example, that something unexpected DID happen…

You can rest assured that Scaredy Lady of Shalott is prepared.

A few items in Scaredy Lady of Shalott’s emergency kit:

  • Parachute
  • Hand mirror
  • Embroidery floss
  • Net
  • Pen

What to do if the curse is activated, according to Scaredy Lady of Shalott:

  • Step 1: Panic
  • Step 2: Run
  • Step 3: Liberate tapestry
  • Step 4: Put on kit
  • Step 5: Consult Exit plan
  • Step 6: Exit tower (if there is absolutely, definitely, truly no other option)

Exit Plan “TOP SECRET”

  • Exit 1: Note to self: Watch out for churls and market girls
  • Exit 2: Note to self: Do not land in river. If unavoidable, find a boat and write your name on it.
  • Exit 3: Note to self: Look out for reapers and  knights
  • Exit 4: Keep in mind that young lovers are everywhere.

Remember, if all else fails, playing dead is always a good option.

With her emergency kit in hand, Scaredy Lady of Shalott watches (through a mirror). Day by day she watches (through a mirror), until one day …

Thursday 9:37 am

Sir Lancelot flashes into the crystal mirror!

Scaredy lady of Shalott turns to look and cries “A curse is on me,” knocking her emergency kit out of the tower.

This was NOT part of the Plan.

Scaredy lady of Shalott jumps to catch her kit.

She quickly regrets this idea.

The parachute is in the kit.

But something incredible happens …

The magic web floats wide and she hangs on for the ride. Scaredy lady of Shalott is no ordinary lady. She’s a flying lady!

Scaredy lady of Shalott forgets all about the knight, not to mention the reapers, churls, market girls, shepherd lads, and young lovers.

She feels overjoyed! Adventurous! Carefree! Alive! Until she lands in a boat.

And plays DEAD.

After Lancelot says “She had a lovely face,” Scaredy Lady of Shalott realizes that nothing horrible is happening in the unknown today. So she returns to her tower.

All this excitement has inspired Scaredy Lady of Shalott to make drastic changes to her life…

Scaredy Lady of Shalott’s new-and-improved daily routine:

  • 6:45 am             wake up
  • 7:00 am             do some weaving
  • 7:15 am              look at view (through mirror)
  • 9:37 am             float into the unknown on magic web
  • 9:45 am             play dead
  • 11:45 am            return home
  • 12:00 noon       do some weaving
  • 12:30 pm           look at view (through mirror)
  • 5:00 pm             do some weaving
  • 5:31 pm              look at view (through mirror)
  • 8:00 pm             go to sleep

P.S. As for the emergency kit, Scaredy Lady of Shalott is in no hurry to pick it up just yet (it’s between two young lovers. Ew.)